Sent: Monday, July 16, 2012 6:54 AM
Mohamed Atef reports from Cairo on the return of the Mahalla textile workers to the front line of the struggle
More than 20000 workers in Mahalla are now in an open-ended sit-in escalating the strike against the corrupted management and demanding greater share in profits.
Some 300 workers are guarding the factory in a tent camp inside the factory. If the management do not meet the demands workers they will start mass rallies in the city and call for solidarity from their relatives and neighbours.
Workers' demands include increased production incentive and to get the equivalent two months for each year spent in the service at retirement. Moreover, in addition they are calling for an adequate minimum wage of 1500 EGP and the development of the development of the Company’s hospital.
The workers’ demands are not only concentrating on their own interests, but also aim at the reconstruction of textile industry in Egypt by injecting investment into the company, and purging the holding company of corruption.
A statement were issued by the strike entitled “A Message To The President… I Need My Living” said that “The workers suffered greatly from the marginalization, poverty and humiliation over many decades. So workers must now be now in the first concerns of the President, because all that matters to workers is to achieve the goals of the revolution which are: a living, freedom and social justice. We would like to remind the President that it was the workers who are toppled the oppressive toppled regime”.
Mahalla’s message for President Morsi is very clear, showing that the Egyptian workers focus on the social and economic demands of the revolution, and he cannot pretend the revolution is ongoing so when their social and economic rights are not met yet.
Mahalla’s strike came like a breath of clean air in fevered atmosphere of the difficulties that have faced the revolution. Recent attention has been on the superstructural issues such as the constitution and the elections. This strike will help shift it from issues affecting the political future to those affecting the broad base of the poor and the marginalized. It will help move the focus from the religious/secular polarization that has dominated the electoral period.
Mahalla brings the hope again, correcting the path of the revolution towards a battle of class polarization. So, it wasn’t a surprise to monitor a wave of strikes prevail all of the textile sector in Egypt in less than an hour after Mahalla strike began, including factories in many other governorates such as Tanta, Sharqyah and Alexandria. As well as, other sectors like electricity service, doctors, Metro workers, constructions, cement factories, fishermen and real estate tax employees have joined the action.
Under a impact of the action by the Egyptian workers, many political forces and trade unions are now chanting “Long Live the Workers Movement Struggle!” The Socialist People’s Alliance Party, the Egyptian Socialist Party, The Revolutionary Socialist, The Free Trade Union Of The Egyptian Workers and many other bodies issued statement in solidarity with Mahalla and the Egyptian workers.
The Egyptian workers proved today that their revolution is ongoing, by real struggle, by militant persistence. The question now is can Leftists in Egypt prove by joint struggle that they will be a strong engine in the process of the revolution’s continuation? We are all a waiting for the answer.
Hillary Clinton motorcade pelted with tomatoes, shoes in Egypt
Reuters: Sunday July 15, 2012
A tomato struck an Egyptian official in the face, and shoes and a water bottle landed near the armoured cars carrying Clinton’s delegation in the port city of Alexandria.
A senior State Department official said that neither Clinton nor her vehicle, which were around the corner from the incident, were struck by any of the projectiles.
Protesters chanted: “Monica, Monica,” a reference to former president Bill Clinton’s extramarital affair in the mid-1990s. Some chanted “leave, Clinton,” Egyptian security officials said.
READ MORE: Arab Awakening coverage
It was not clear who the protesters were or what political affiliations they might have. Protesters outside Clinton’s hotel on Saturday night chanted anti-Islamist slogans, accusing the United States of backing the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power.
The assault on her motorcade came on a day Clinton spoke at the newly reopened U.S. consulate in Alexandria, addressing accusations that the United States, which had long supported former president Hosni Mubarak, of backing one faction or another in Egypt following his ouster last year.
“I want to be clear that the United States is not in the business, in Egypt, of choosing winners and losers, even if we could, which of course we cannot,” Clinton said.
Clinton also met the country’s top general, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, on Sunday to discuss Egypt’s turbulent democratic transition as the military wrestles for influence with the new president.
The meeting came a day after she met Mursi, whose powers were clipped by the military days before he took office.
Mursi fired back by reinstating the Islamist-dominated parliament that the army leadership had disbanded after a court declared it void, which intensified the standoff before the new leader even had time to form a government.
The result has been political uncertainty as the various power centres try to find a way to get along in a country that still has no permanent constitution, parliament or government more than a year after Mubarak’s downfall.
In their hour-long meeting, Clinton and Tantawi discussed Egypt’s political transition and the military’s “ongoing dialogue with President Mursi,” a U.S. official travelling with Clinton said in an email brief.
“Tantawi stressed that this is what Egyptians need most now — help getting the economy back on track,” the official said.
Clinton “stressed the importance of protecting the rights of all Egyptians, including women and minorities.”
The talks also touched on the increasingly lawless Sinai region and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Speaking after the meeting, Tantawi said the army respected the presidency but would not be deterred from its role of “protecting” Egypt.
“The armed forces and the army council respects legislative and executive authorities,” he said in a speech to troops in the city of Ismailia. “The armed forces would not allow anyone to discourage it from its role in protecting Egypt and its people.”
Ties with the United States, which provides Egypt with an annual $1.3 billion in military aid, were strained this year when Egyptian judicial police raided the offices of several U.S.-backed non-governmental organizations on suspicion of illegal foreign funding and put several Americans on trial.
The spat ended when Egyptian authorities allowed the U.S. citizens and other foreign workers to leave the country.
During her speech, Clinton said: “When we talk about supporting democracy, we mean real democracy.”
“To us real democracy means that every citizen has the right to live, work and worship as they choose, whether they are man or woman, Christian or Muslim.”
“Real democracy means that no group or faction or leader can impose their will, their ideology, their religion, their desires on anyone else.”
That was a message she is likely to have repeated in meetings on Sunday with women and Christians, both groups that fear their rights may be curtailed under a Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government.
No virus found in this message.
Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
Version: 2012.0.2179 / Virus Database: 2437/5135 - Release Date: 07/16/12